With the vast majority of returning shows airing their season premieres next week, yesterday’s new TV on DVD releases offer a last chance to catch up on your favourite television shows. My pick of the week is a comedy, but other offerings include a recently remade 80’s favourite, some gossiping surgeons, supernatural creatures, and even everyone’s favourite Canadian mutant, Wolverine. Here’s a look at what’s out on DVD this week.
My Pick: The Big Bang Theory Season Two
The original premise of The Big Bang Theory, a brainy meets blonde odd couple scenario, didn’t sound all that thrilling and, for this TV enthusiast, the fact that it was created by Chuck Lorre, the man behind Two and a Half Men, did not bode well. So when I caught an episode of the show during its second season, mostly because it aired directly after How I Met Your Mother, I wasn’t expecting much. Imagine my surprise when the show turned out to be not just humourous but often laugh out loud funny!
The Big Bang Theory is certainly one of, if not the, funniest shows on television. Although it was shut out of a Best Comedy Series Emmy nomination in a newly expanded category containing seven nominees, Jim Parsons has been nominated as Lead Actor in a Comedy at the awards, which air this Sunday. The sitcom revolves around four brilliant but geeky scientists and their relationship with waitress/aspiring actress Penny, who lives across the hall. While it is undoubtedly funnier if, like this TV enthusiast, you enjoy the “geeky” things in life and are able to pick up on the many references to Star Trek, comic books, and video games, even the scientific elements, which are unfamiliar to an English and History major like me, are humourous. Each episode is titled in the form of a scientific theory, such as “The Fuzzy Boots Corollary” or “The Bath Gift Item Hypothesis”.
The second season builds on the relationships and sense of humour established during its writers’ strike shortened first season, and the show really hits its stride. Jim Parsons plays the socially inept Dr. Sheldon Cooper, whose obsessive neatness, need for routine, and inability to get sarcasm and irony impair his interactions with his friends, while Johnny Galecki plays his roommate Leonard, the straight man role. Kaley Cuoco (Penny), Simon Helberg (Howard), and Kunal Nayyar (Raj) also star.
So many brilliant shows are cancelled before they have the chance to fulfill their potential. Luckily The Big Bang Theory isn’t one of them. It has built an audience and the decision to try out the show in the 9:30 PM timeslot, after ratings hit Two and a Half Men, proved so much of a success that it will now regularly air at that time. Last Spring CBS showed their faith in the show by giving it a surprise two season pick up, much to this TV enthusiast’s delight, so you can watch without fear of cancellation.
The third season premieres this Monday, September 21st.
Also on DVD This Week:
If you’re in the mood for something more dramatic, pick up the fifth season of Grey’s Anatomy on DVD. Grey’s has never been must see TV for me, and this year the show had its issues. New Lesbian character Brooke Hahn was abruptly written out of the show, and Sadie (Melissa George), Meredith’s college friend, was poorly received and departed Seattle Grace. However, more successful changes included the addition of the brilliant Kevin McKidd (Owen Hunt), as an army doctor and love interest for Sandra Oh’s Cristina, and pediatric surgeon Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw), who will be a regular this season on the show. Less successful was the plotline involving Izzy (Katherine Heigl) who has “ghost sex” with Denny (guest star Jeffrey Dean Morgan) before the long overdue revelation that he is a hallucination and a symptom of something larger. The fifth season also includes the all important 100th episode of the show, which featured a wedding.
Grey’s Anatomy spin-off Private Practice, following Addison’s move to the Oceanside Wellness clinic in Los Angeles, releases its second season on DVD today as well.
With a new movie remake due to hit theatres this Friday, what better time to release the first and second seasons of 80’s television show Fame on DVD? The show followed the lives of the students and faculty at the New York High School for the Performing Arts and it was nominated for, and won, a number of Emmy Awards.
I don’t think I’ll ever understand people who watch and take CSI: Miami seriously, the first five minutes of David Caruso removing and putting back on his sunglasses is all I can watch without laughing, but for those who do enjoy the series, its seventh season arrives on DVD this week. More traditionally comedic is the fourth season of It’s always sunny in Philadelphia.The show revolves around four self-centered friends who own an Irish bar and episodes deal with controversial subject matter, including racism and abortions. FX has ordered 39 additional episodes of the series, carrying it through a seventh season. Less fortunate was NBC comedy My Name Is Earl, which was cancelled last May. The sitcom starred Jason Lee as Earl Hickey, a petty crook who comes to believe in the concept of karma after he wins the lottery and is promptly hit by a car, losing his ticket. He proceeds to create a list of the bad things he has done and to do a corresponding good deed for each item. The fourth and final season of the show is out on DVD this week.
The second season of Canadian comedy Little Mosque on the Prairie is also out on DVD this week. The Saskatchewan-set series begins its fourth season September 28th, with the third arriving on DVD in January 2010. Although the series isn’t Canadian, its protagonist certainly is – Wolverine is one of the best loved Marvel characters and he arrives on DVD this week in the first season of animated show Wolverine and the X-men. This isn’t the only animated show to feature Marvel characters; In the early 90’s Fox aired X-men, which received critical and audience praise. More recently X-men: Evolution, featuring largely teenaged versions of the characters, aired on WB kids for four seasons. Wolverine and the X-men hopes to achieve similar success.
There are two science-fiction offering this week. One is the first season Canadian series Sanctuary, a Syfy original series starring Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG-1) as Dr. Helen Magnus, a 157-year-old English scientist who seeks out non-human intelligent creatures (known as abnormals) and provides safe haven for them. The series was well received, with its premiere drawing in 3 million viewers to become the highest rated original series premiere since Eureka in 2006, and will air a second season beginning in October.
Finally, the 2008 Doctor Who Christmas special “The Next Doctor” makes its North American DVD debut this week. David Tennant makes one of his last appearances as the Tenth Doctor, while Dervla Kirwin plays the villainous Miss Hartigan, and David Morrissey appears as a strange man with a TARDIS and a companion named Rosita. Could he be the next doctor?